Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forum › Equipment Category › Draft Animal Drawn Equipment Buyer’s Guide › Farming Equipment › Hill Plow and other gardening equipment › Reply To: Hill Plow and other gardening equipment
At this point our only working horse drawn plow is a walking IH hillside. We use it in the market garden extensively and also for breaking sod. It seems that with very little adjustment we have always been able to turn a nice looking furrow, that said, it definitely isn’t optimum for every condition. They are designed to go pretty good both directions but not great in either direction. Ironically I just spent the last two days opening up an acre of hillside sod with this tool and for the life of me, I couldn’t get the thing to turn a decent furrow uphill. Ended up turning everything downhill and cursing at not being able to make it turn up. I realize the center mounted lever can swing to the left or right to adjust your horizontal hitch which should account for the hillside plowing. When plowing with the left handed bottom, throwing soil uphill I set the lever all the way to the left and the machine seems to run a bit more level. Most of the time though, on any kind of flat ground I keep the lever tied off in the center and am very pleased with the performance. Above all else though, my biggest issue with the hillside plow is walking behind it! Because it is designed to work both directions, the handles are not offset as they would be with a regular right or left handed plow. That means the handles are centered on the machine and moldboard is set off to the right or left depending. Leaving you always walking in the same spot whether throwing right or left and that is one foot in the furrow, one foot on the land. I can get away with walking either the furrow or land sometimes, though it is never really comfortable. If you were in really mellow, stone free soil, you could even get away with walking next to the machine steering it one handed which I have managed a few times when my legs get tired of tripping over each other, though we don’t have much of that kind of ground on the farm. Like any plow it gets real jumpy when the ground gets bony. I usually use it just as a left handed plow just because I’m more comfortable with that and our near horses are better at walking the furrow, but it is a great training exercise working it both ways, as each horse gets their turn in the furrow. Overall I do enjoy the tool but am always dreaming about finding a good left handed walking plow which seem to be non-existent up here in NH. Sorry about the long winded response, I’ve spent a lot of time recently looking down the handles of a hillside and thinking about how they work.